School Report Cards and Poverty

Every public school in Wisconsin recently received a state report card. These results were also published in local newspapers. The ratings aggregate a multitude of measures, including but not limited to student growth, student achievement and attendance rate.

All of our area schools’ scores were then sorted by what level of performance they achieved (significantly exceeds expectations, exceeds expectations, meets expectations, meets few expectations). What I did was average each schools’ free and reduced rate for each level of performance. Free and reduced rates tell us what percentage of our families live in poverty. Here are the results:

Schools that Significantly Exceeded Expectations: 26.7% free/reduced
Schools that Exceeded Expectations: 39.7% free/reduced
Schools that Met Expectations: 48% free/reduced
Schools that Met Few Expectations: 70% free/reduced

I was sadly not surprised by these results.

So what do these report cards tell us: Levels of achievement or levels of poverty?

Author: Matt Renwick

Matt Renwick is a 17-year public educator who began as a 5th and 6th grade teacher. After seven years of teaching, he served as a dean of students, assistant principal and athletic director before becoming an elementary principal in Wisconsin Rapids. Matt is now an elementary principal for the Mineral Point Unified School District ( Matt tweets @ReadByExample and writes for ASCD ( and Lead Literacy (

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s